Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is recommending that the Security Council authorize a stepped-up U.N. presence in violence-wracked Burundi but has stopped short of calling for a full-fledged U.N. peacekeeping operation.

In a letter to the council Monday, the U.N. chief said "Burundi stands on the brink of another armed conflict that could ... have potentially disastrous effects in an already fragile region."

The letter outlined three options: a U.N. peacekeeping operation; a special political mission focusing on starting a national dialogue and promoting human rights; or a team to support U.N. special adviser Jamal Benomar in promoting a political dialogue and advising the government on strengthening security.

Ban recommended the support team given political realities and security conditions.